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The Montauk Century - CycleCentury

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Babylon, Long Island, New York
United States
Five Borough Bicycle Club
54F / 12C
Total Time = 6h 19m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Got up around 2:30am, had a peanut butter on whole wheat and a cup of coffee, then went out to find a taxi. Managed to wedge the bike in the back seat and rode to check in at Penn Station, where I put my bike on the truck and waited for LazyMarathoner. Once she was squared away, we waited around Penn Station, marveling at all the drunken people, including one poor girl who was passed out on the floor of the train station, which is probably one of the least clean indoor surfaces known to man. I bet there are Mexican jail cells that have less bacteria on the floor than that place. While I was buying a Gatorade, some staggering drunk dude told me he had done a century in Long Island, then changed his story to say that he’d ridden a beach cruiser from San Francisco to San Diego. Next time I’m out drinking, I’m having what he’s having.

At 4:30, we boarded the train with the other 500 cyclists and rode out to the start line. I sipped on a Gatorade on the train.

Event warmup:

Got to the start line and it was colder than it had been in Manhattan and raining not-so-lightly (although this was a gentle drizzle compared to what was to come). We got our bikes, filled our bottles (2 bottles of Heed), put our luggage on the truck to Montauk, briefly questioned our decision not to stay in bed, and, at about 7am, headed out.
  • 6h 19m
  • 100 miles
  • 15.83 mile/hr

It was chilly and rainy when we started out, and it never got much warmer and didn’t stop raining for good until the last 30 miles or so. We had a couple of breaks from the rain, but they were always followed by a period of rain that seemed stronger than before. The first rest area (20 miles) had an indoor bathroom but other than flimsy tents and porta-potties none of the others had shelter.

We kept a reasonably fast pace, considering the difficult and even dangerous conditions. I would say in general we were in the 16-17mph, slower in some sections, and a couple of fast, dry areas where we were able to carry 20+ for several miles.

In terms of conditions, this is easily the most difficult ride I’ve ever done. The roads were always wet, full of potholes, gravel, wet leaves, branches, etc. We must have seen 50-75 people with flat tires along the roadside (including one poor guy who got one at about the 98-mile mark.) The weather report had called for tailwinds the whole way, but what we got were strong gusting headwinds and unpredictable crosswinds which made handling the bike on the roads scary at times. Between wind, rain, cold, and bad roads, it seemed as though we were always coping with at least three out of four at a time.

The cold made it hard to figure out the nutrition plan. Most of my calories were liquid, but it was hard to remember to drink in that temperature, and since we weren’t sweating, we got to each rest stop feeling like we were going to burst. The gel in my (useless) gel flask became too viscous to suck out be the end, so I went with virtually no calories at all over the last 20 miles or so, which was a huge mistake, given that the last 20 miles are by far the most difficult terrain. There’s one tough long stretch of road that isn’t steep, but seems to go up and up and up into infinity. That’s followed by a bunch of roller that always somehow seems that the downhills are shorter than the uphills.

With the lack of calories in the final section, I started to get really light-headed and bonk-y at the end. I kept shifting into easier and easier gears but just couldn’t make my legs go, even on the flats. I was crawling up a hill at one point, at slower than 10mph, which was disconcerting, since hills are usually a strength of mine. Finally, it dawned on me that I hadn’t been eating, so I somehow sucked down a gel or two from my flask and that gave me enough energy to get over the last climbs, even passing a couple of people who had passed me, and sped into the finish area at a good pace.

And, as a final indignity to it all, I rolled into the finish area, and when I went to stop, my cleat wouldn’t disengage, and I fell over, scuffing a small hole in my saddle, and practically knocking LazyMarathoner and her pretty, new P2C to the ground. Since I talked her into this Century in the first place, it’s a wonder she’s still speaking to me.

What would you do differently?:

I don’t have any problems with how I did. I was much faster last year, but the conditions were totally different. Four or five people had accidents requiring ambulance rides along the course, do say nothing of what I’m sure were a ton of minor accidents. I wish I had been smarter about my nutrition and not bonked so much at the end. There’s no way I would ever want to do a ride like this again by choice, though.
Post race
Warm down:

Fell off my bike at the finish like, put on some dryer, warmer clothes and got out of my wet bike shoes. Ate a burger and some pasta and sat on the grass until it was time to get on the train back to the city. Took a little snooze on the train, which felt good.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I think the conditions (and by extension, my nutrition) were the only things that kept me from equaling or exceeding my pace from last year. When we had stretches of decent road and it wasn’t raining, we were able to motor along at a fairly fast pace. I just wasn’t about to risk crashing for the sake of a Century when I’ve got my A race in 8 weeks. I felt good on the bike for the first 60-75 miles or so, which I think was a really good sign. It’s only my second Century and the longest ride ever on a tri bike.

Event comments:

This is really a pretty good event, altogether. I’ve got a bit of an issue with the way the bikes are loaded and unloaded, since I don’t think they’re always as careful as they could or should be, but in general, the route is good, the rest stops are fine (though, in retrospect, it would be nice in the future if, when conditions warrant, they were able to provide shelter, heaters or hot food/drinks. I think there was a serious risk of hypothermia for people who weren’t prepared for the conditions and there was really nowhere for them to go to get out of the rain and cold.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’d do this ride again. But not if it’s raining.

Last updated: 2009-04-22 12:00 AM
06:19:00 | 100 miles | 15.83 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: The course goes from Babylon, NY out to the town of Montauk (not all the way out to Montauk Point, which would be another 5-10 miles, I think). It’s mostly flat until you get to the last 10 miles which are quite hilly. There are a number of small bridges and one big one that have unpredictable and quite strong crosswinds. The earlier sections are more residential with slower paces and more turns than the later sections where the road opens up more. In general, the winds pick up as you get farther out to Montauk, so while it’s not a particularly difficult or technical course, most of the hard stuff is towards the end. On a nice day, it’s very scenic in places. There are three rest stops at about the 20, 50 and 74-mile points which are well-stocked with food, and which have porta-potties and mechanical assistance.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 1
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-05-18 11:32 AM

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Brooklyn, NY
Subject: The Montauk Century

2009-05-18 4:31 PM
in reply to: #2158068

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Subject: RE: The Montauk Century

I've got to give you credit Jonah, I'm not sure I would have gotten out of the house when I saw the weather. It sounds tough, but great job hanging in there and getting it done. Congrats.

2009-05-18 5:40 PM
in reply to: #2158068

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Subject: RE: The Montauk Century

Whew, what a long day! Sounds like you did a great job toughing it out

2009-05-18 9:22 PM
in reply to: #2158068

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Brooklyn, NY
Subject: RE: The Montauk Century
Jonah, this quote - "I fell over, scuffing a small hole in my saddle, and practically knocking LazyMarathoner and her pretty, new P2C to the ground. Since I talked her into this Century in the first place, it’s a wonder she’s still speaking to me" - made me laugh so hard! I have to thank you for convincing me to do this ride. It was heinous torture, but in a year of IM training it's exactly what I needed. Thanks for riding the entire thing with me, I wouldn't have made it if I'd been alone. Let's do it next year and there better be sunny skies, dry pothole-free roads and a tailwind the entire way!

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